Book signing at Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

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I signed books on June 8 in the museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The gift shop there has an extensive array of Titanic books.

I was invited to do a book signing the weekend of June 8-9 at the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The museum has been carrying our book since March as it gets a number of visitors from the Midwest. This museum, and its companion in Branson, Mo., features artifacts and memorabilia about the Titanic loaned from personal collections along with re-creations of areas on the ship, such as the grand staircase, first-class stateroom and the bridge. A highlight of the exhibit while I was there was the temporary display of the long-lost Wallace Hartley violin. It will go on to the Branson location after leaving Pigeon Forge before being auctioned in October. The violin, in its case, was found strapped to Hartley’s body when it was recovered after the disaster. He was one of the musicians who played on deck as the ship went down. The band was reported by many to have played “Nearer My God, to Thee.” The violin was sent back to his fiancee in England and remained with her descendants over the years until one of them contacted the Aldridge auction house in England. It took seven years for experts to authenticate the violin. It bears a metal plate stating, “For Wallace On the occasion of our engagement From Maria.” To read more about it, check out the press release  on the home page of the museum. Other highlights that are part of the permanent collection are the Father Browne photos (he was a priest and amateur photographer who got on board at Southampton and got off in Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, taking with him the only images of the maiden voyage).There is also a gallery on the James Cameron film, with several actual costumes from the movie on display. Here are a few photos of the exterior of the museum (no photos allowed inside).  — Mary Ann

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The ticket office and gift shop entrances are in a replica of a White Star Line building.

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Looking straight on at the bow of Titanic as the ship appears to be heading right for you. The fatal iceberg is on the left and the White Star Line building is on the right. That’s real water and spray from the bow.

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Looking up at the replica of the ship from this vantage point almost makes you feel like you are dockside in Southampton waiting to get on board.


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